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EBW24 Editorial
#EBW24 Editorial: Green biobanking and sustainability

#EBW24 Editorial: Green biobanking and sustainability

Green biobanking has been very positively received by the community for #EBW24. High energy costs and climate concerns add new dimensions to the topic of sustainability. This panel showcases examples of how green biobanking could be an answer to these challenges.

Jörg Hamann, Head of Amsterdam UMC’s Biobank and Management Committee member for The Netherlands‘ BBMRI National Node, and Saba Abdulghani, BBMRI’s Head of Biobanking Development share why this session is not to be missed.

Big challenges

Biobanks play a crucial role in biomedical research, providing researchers with access to valuable biological samples for a wide range of studies. However, the energy consumption and environmental impact of biobanks have become significant concerns in the 21st century.

Addressing these problems is essential to promote sustainable practices and contribute to a low carbon future. In this panel, we explore various strategies that can be employed to manage the energy challenges faced by biobanks.

Green biobanking initiatives, such as energy-efficient facility design and renewable energy integration, have the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of biobanks. By adopting sustainable practices, biobanks can contribute to mitigating the environmental impact of their operations. Energy-efficient measures, including optimised cooling systems and smart energy management, can lead to significant cost savings for biobanks. 

New practices

A significant portion of energy consumption in biobanks is attributed to cold storage systems. Employing energy-efficient ultra-low temperature freezers, optimising sample storage density, implementing intelligent temperature monitoring and control systems, adapting temperature setpoints and monitoring collection storage periods can minimise energy requirements without compromising sample integrity. Additionally, exploring alternative cooling technologies, such as liquid nitrogen systems, can provide energy-efficient alternatives for long-term sample preservation. By reducing energy consumption, biobanks can lower their operational expenses, making financial sustainability more achievable in the long run.

Positive perceptions

Moreover, embracing green biobanking practices can enhance the public perception of biobanks. Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability aligns with societal expectations and can attract support from environmentally conscious stakeholders, including researchers, funding agencies, and the general public.

It is also essential to enhance collaboration among biobanks, researchers, and industry partners to facilitate the sharing of best practices and innovative solutions for energy efficiency. Establishing networks and platforms for knowledge exchange can accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices and technologies across the biobanking community.

Stronger sustainability

Biobanks can enhance their environmental sustainability and community benefit by transitioning to green biobanking practices. As climate-conscious research partners, green biobanks will be well-positioned to support studies on biodiversity, climate impacts on health, and renewable technology evaluations – further strengthening the case for sustainable infrastructure investments.

With careful planning, green biobanking presents a viable solution to address both financial and environmental sustainability concerns in a harmonised manner.

In anticipation of the green biobanking and sustainability panel at #EBW24, listen to the BBMRI podcast episode that told the story of Amsterdam UMC’s International Freezer Challenge win in 2023.

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